I’ve long had a soft spot for stories that transplant Batman to different times. The best is probably Gotham By Gaslight, which imagines a Victorian Batman tangling with Jack the Ripper, but I also have a huge soft spot for Grant Morrison’s time-hopping miniseries Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne, in which we see Caveman Batman, Witchhunter Batman, Pirate Batman, Cowboy Batman and 30s Gumshoe Batman. So, I’m naturally over the moon with this new trailer for Batman Ninja.
First announced at the New York Comic-Con, the project is the brainchild of DC and a number of anime and manga superstars. Namely, Junpei Mizusaki (Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure), Takashi Okazashi (Afro Samurai), and Kazuki Nakashima (Gurren Lagann).
From what I can tell from the trailer, the movie opens with Batman and the Joker engaged in a typically tense battle to the death, only to find themselves hurled back to medieval Japan. Both seem to find themselves in their element, with the Clown Prince of Crime relishing the power of being able to kill at will as the Caped Crusader fits in very well due to his ninja training.
A bevy of supporting characters seem to arrive at some point, too, including Harley Quinn, Catwoman, Robin, Poison Ivy, Nightwing, Penguin and, in a weird twist, Gorilla Grodd. No clue yet whether they’ve also travelled from the future or are their ‘past’ equivalents, but I’m not going to argue with a super-intelligent feudal gorilla lord going up against samurai Batman.
The film appears to use 3D animation styled to look 2D, with the technology obviously a cut above previous efforts in 3D anime. For one, the fight scenes are silky smooth and move beautifully, with even the brief snatches of action we see being gripping as hell. DC bill the production as not seeing Japan through the eyes of Batman, but seeing Batman through the eyes of the Japanese. In that case, let’s hope there’s time for a cameo from Lord Death Man.
Batman Ninja will be released on Blu-Ray, DVD and digitally at some point in 2018.